Impaired health-related quality of life and weight loss were found to be independent risk factors for COPD exacerbations, according to research from Japan.

Using the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), a patient’s health-related quality of life was consistently associated with exacerbations, including exacerbation-free survival, exacerbation frequency, and recurrent exacerbations. This was true whether exacerbations were defined by the presence of defined symptoms requiring a prescription change or hospital admission.

BMI was also significantly associated with exacerbation frequency by both definitions and recurrent exacerbations by the hospitalization definition. In a multivariate model, for every unit increase in BMI, the likelihood for shorter exacerbation-free survival decreased by 14% when defined by hospital admission and by 7% when defined by prescription change.

Investigators also found that for every 10-year increase in age, patients were 57% more likely to have recurrent exacerbations, according to the hospitalization definition.